Recently an individual and a club let their ACMA licences lapse, but with a friendly alert was sent by a ham both were quickly made current. The ACMA sends a renewal notice to the email or postal address the licensee has recorded, about two weeks before the licence is due to expire.
The responsibility rests with the licensee to keep the postal address up to date, and pay the licence fee by the due date. The ACMA said that postal address or email contact change details need to be made in a timely manner so the renewal notice can go to the current address.
This is where current contact details are vital, without them the AMCA has no way of sending you the advice of a pending expiry and renewal invoice. If a renewal notice is not received in the month leading up to the expiry date, request one by contacting the ACMA Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Technically at midnight Canberra time on the expiry date, the station is unlicensed. However, a small window of opportunity exists up to 60 days when the licensee can renew a licence by paying the licence fee without penalty.
The ACMA will cancel your callsign if it doesn’t receive a response to your renewal invoice within a limited time after the expiry date. The ACMA will lapse the licence, and your callsign will then be available for re-issue.
The callsign automatically appears on the WIA-administered publically available callsign list, or be subject to a ballot process in some cases of two-letter callsigns. A few people try to get their licence back after it has expired, but are told by ACMA to apply for a callsign through the WIA Office to re-start the process.
This means that the WIA needs to make a callsign recommendation and submit this to ACMA with a licence application, to enable a new licence to be issued. However this is not always under the previous callsign, because as we have explained, it may have already been issued to someone else.
The answer is to always know your ACMA Amateur Licence renewal date, whether or not you receive formal renewal, and make sure you renew it to keep the callsign.